A Slice of British Comics History – Fantasy Advertiser #1

Artist David Hathaway-Price, who runs the terrific Classic UK Comics Zines online archive, has unearthed a rare copy of one of Britain’s first fanzines, Fantasy Advertiser #1, published by Frank Dobson in 1965.

Two years before Anthony Roche published his Merry Marvel Fanzine in Ireland (and, later, Heroes Unlimited), and Phil Clarke and Steve Moore published Ka-Pow in the UK, Frank Dobson produced this “Ad zine” – basically, his listings of comics for sale. But it would grow into one of the most popular zines published in the UK, with an online presence that continues to this day.

This ‘zine’ consists of five pages, including printed pages, a carbon copy, and two pages of lists that look to be handwritten in blue ink.

“Whether or not this is how all of the first issues looked when distributed (I suspect it was only given to a handful of people), or if it’s Frank’s own master copy, I have no idea,” David notes, who’s working on a second issue of his irregular celebration of British comics fandom, FANSCENE.

“At any rate, it’s a real bit of UK zine history.”

Fantasy Advertiser issue 54, with a Dave Gibbons cover

Fantasy Advertiser issue 54, with a Dave Gibbons cover

It’s not the only slice of early British fandom David has unearthed, either, recently: he’s also added Fantasy Advertser #2 to the archive with more early issues to come, along with Ka-Pow #3 and Comic Catalog #1, published in 1972 by future 2000AD editor Richard Burton and Titan Entertainement Group co-owner and publisher of Titan Comics, Nick Landau.

Fantasy Advertiser began as an Ad Zine that was essentially an advertising service for comic collectors, focusing on the sale of primarily second hand comics, eventually transitioning to a true comics-focused fanzine.

When original editor Frank Dobson emigrated to Australia in 1970, he handed it on to two contributors, Dez Skinn (later, publisher at Marvel UK and Warrior) and Paul McCartney (no, not that Paul McCartney), to continue. They expanded the magazine to include more articles and artwork.

Dez left in 1976 and Martin Lock soon became editor, before handing it over to Martin Skidmore in 1984, who shortened the name to FA, making the magazine more provocative and political.

It was taken over by Trident Comics in 1988, but was closed in 1991 when Trident went bankrupt.

Arguably the best comics fanzine in Britain, it was revived in 2010, in sparkling online form, by Martin Skidmore (sadly, no longer with us). It’s now edited by Tony Keen.

Classic UK Comics Zines, David’s online archive of British fanzines

Fanzine Flashback – KA-POW, Britain’s first comics zine?

• FA Online – http://comiczine-fa.com

Direct Fantasy Advertser Links

Fantasy Advertser #1 – direct link to PDF

Fantasy Advertser #2 – direct link to PDF

Fantasy Advertiser #1 - Cover

Fantasy Advertiser #1

Fantasy Advertiser #1

Fantasy Advertiser #1

Fantasy Advertiser #1

Ewan Brownlow notes the cover image is from the US-published Dell comic Space Man #5 (June 1963), which featured strips written by Joe Gill with art by Jack Sparling. The cover artist is unknown.

Space Man #5 - Dell, 1963

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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